Covid passports: Why the US could be allowed into Europe for holidays before Brits

Greece ‘confident’ of being on green travel list says expert

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EU leaders have approved a Digital Green Certificate which will prove the holder has either been vaccinated, received a negative coronavirus test or recovered from COVID-19. The UK government has said similar plans are in the works, but it has emerged the EU is in talks with the US over mutually recognised schemes.

This week, the Guardian reported the EU is at an “advanced” stage of talks with the US over mutually recognised passport schemes.

This is in an attempt to kickstart transatlantic tourism as we head into summer.

However, a spokesperson for the European Commission said there were “no contacts at present with the UK” over a similar agreement.

The European Commission has been in discussion with US officials and the secretary of homeland security, Alejandro Mayorkas, the spokesperson confirmed.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen offered encouragement for US residents hoping to holiday in the EU.

She told the New York Times: “The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines. This will enable free movement and travel to the European Union.

“Because one thing is clear: all 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by EMA.”

She said the travel situation would still depend “on the epidemiological situation, but the situation is improving in the United States, as it is, hopefully, also improving in the European Union”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he wants to allow foreign travel by May 17 and the Government is considering introducing vaccine passports for British holidaymakers in line with that target.

But a commission spokesperson said talks had not yet opened between Brussels and London on how to ensure mutual recognition of either side’s documents proving vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test.

However, individual nations dependent on tourism are hoping to get things moving as soon as possible.

Spain’s tourism minister, Fernando Valdés, said last week that his country would be ready for mass tourism this summer.

He told Sky News: “We are desperate to welcome you this summer.

“I think we will be ready here in Spain and we also think that things on the vaccination scheme of the UK are going pretty well.

“So, hopefully we will be seeing this summer the restart of holidays.”

The aim of the EU’s Digital Green Certificate is to get travel moving across borders, “without discrimination”.

However, sceptics have said that getting it all organised in a short space of time will be a significant challenge.

EU leaders have called for legal and technical work to go ahead “as a matter of urgency” while maintaining restrictions on non-essential travel for the moment.

The original plan is for the certificate to be in place for the summer but that deadline could be hard to meet.

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